Many Small Businesses Facing Larger Health Insurance Bills

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been in the news a lot over the last several months, and this is true for both the individual mandate and that for businesses large and small. Now, it seems that many companies are coming to the realization that their costs for insuring their workers might go up, even as the date by which they will have to provide coverage has been pushed back.

The fact of the matter, though, is that the vast majority of businesses that would be required to provide their workers with health care coverage – those with 50 or more employees – already do so, but because of the ACA, their costs might increase significantly as insurers raise their rates, according to a report from the Bloomington Pantagraph. The firm Benefit Planning Associated recently found that some 85 percent of its individual clients were recently told by the federal government that their health insurance plans did not meet the minimum standards required by law, and it seems that some of these policies were actually issued by their employers, or because they were self-employed, rather than purchased individually.

Fortunately for small business owners who are currently trying to be more mindful of their bottom lines as the broader economy continues its slow but steady recovery, the federal government will allow them to continue issuing these non-compliant policies for another year. Nonetheless, price increases came for these as well, but did not deter many companies from buying them again, rather than shopping for new coverage that might be more in line with federal rules.

“Eighty percent of them renewed their old plans,” Jeff Gilmore, president of Benefit Planning Associates in Bloomington, told the newspaper. “The extension has been good for them.”

What will happen next?
There have been numerous concerns about the effect that the health coverage mandate will have on small businesses overall, and as such the federal government is apparently now considering whether to allow non-compliant plans to be issued through the end of next year, the report said. Regardless of whether that happens, companies should try to have contingency plans in place to make sure they’re operating within the bounds of federal law.

Owners worried about the impact of more costly health coverage on their bottom lines might want to shop around for other kinds of affordable small business insurance plans. This might include liability insurance and other types of coverage, and may end up saving companies thousands annually.